Basic Abdominal Crunch

The Basic Abdominal Crunch is the fundamental abdominal exercise, working all of your ab muscles. Pay special attention to your form if you lower back or neck problems.

Getting Set (A)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are behind your ears. Don’t lace your fingers together. Hold your elbows out to the sides but rounded slightly in. Tilt your chin slightly so that there’s a few inches of space between your chin and your chest. Gently pull your abdominals inward.

The Exercise (B)

Curl up and forward so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor. Hold for a moment at the top of the movement, and then lower slowly back down.

Do’s & Dont’s

• DO keep your abdominals pulled in so that you feel more tension in your abs and so you don’t overarch your lower back.

• DON’T pull on your neck with your hands or draw your elbows in.

• DO curl as well as lift.

Other Options

Legs-up Crunch with a Twist (Harder): Lift your bent knees off the floor and cross one ankle over the other.

Straight-arm Crunch with a Twist (Harder): Reach for your opposite knee with your arm straight rather than your elbow bent. Reach past the outside edge of your knee.